Dainties of the first order
Crayfish—also known as crawfish, crawdads, mudbugs, and other colorful local names—figure prominently in human societies on several continents. In North America, many people carry fond memories of sitting by a lake, patiently catching enough crayfish on a line to fill a bucket, and later savoring the tails as a tasty, if small, appetizer. Others spent endless summer days turning stream cobbles to pursue crayfish just for fun or for bait. And there is nothing like a savory crawfish étoufée on a steamy New Orleans evening. Crayfish even provide the impetus for a good party. Crayfish parties are a highlight of late summer in Sweden and Finland, and a Texas crawfish boil makes for a fine get-together. Given their social importance, it’s surprising how little attention is paid to their conservation status and role in natural ecosystems.